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Content Marketing

How to Increase Blog Traffic Without Using Social Media

When it comes time to promote your blog post, I recommend doing everything in your power to do so.

Share it, tweet it, promote it, like it, talk about it, comment about it, and put it on every social network you possibly can.

At the same time, we can’t rely on social media as the primary distribution channel.

Why not?

  • First of all, not all of your target audience is on social media.
  • You may not connect with the right people using social media.
  • The effectiveness of social media comes and goes. Take Facebook’s Reachpocalypse, for example. We have no way of knowing for certain if a social media channel will continue to drive traffic to our blog.
  • There are vastly more potential users who are not on social media than those who are. You need to find them and connect with them.
  • If you are a content marketer, growth hacker, or blogger, it’s important to dominate every technique in your power to grow your blog traffic. Social media gurus can devise their plans to drive traffic, but you must know the techniques at your disposal.

To be clear, I highly recommend that you use social media to its maximum potential when promoting your blog post and increasing traffic to your content. However, I caution you against depending on your social media reach.

By using alternative forms of content promotion, you can gain a huge advantage over the competition. Instead of trying to gain clicks, views, conversions, and engagements from a narrow slice of the population, you’re able to maximize huge amounts of traffic from new sources.

I’m going to share only those techniques that will drive floods of traffic to your blog without ever logging into Facebook, Twitter, or other social media channels.

Start with the right content.

The kind of traffic you get depends on the content that you produce. Typically speaking, crappy content gets crappy traffic.

Why is this the case?

Google’s algorithm is a lot smarter than we realize. It can tell the difference between content that has been written with excellent grammar and voice and an article that was carelessly dashed off with little skill or expertise.

Your primary goal in producing a blog article isn’t to “rank” as much as it is to create a well-written piece of content that will provide value and information to your target audience.

With that in mind, here are a few pointers for starting with the right content.

Write content for your target persona.

If you haven’t created a target persona, now is the time.

A standard persona includes a few demographic facts and figures, along with a fictional name and photo of the person you’re trying to reach.

small business owner persona

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A good persona will help you to write content that is focused and targeted rather than general and shallow.

Know your topic.

Your personal reputation isn’t a ranking factor. But how well you know your topic will impact your ranking.

Why is this the case?

It’s clear from various studies that Google prefers content that is long and in-depth. Content that exceeds 2,000 words is a top contender for Google’s page one results.

average content length for top search engine results

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Obviously, you can’t just throw a lot of words on the page and hope to rank.

The content itself should be deep and thorough. The type of words you use (relevancy to the topic) and the websites you link to (authoritative) also shape the credibility of your content in Google’s eyes.

The better you know your topic, the greater you will be able to achieve the kind of deep and masterful content that gets ranked.

It can be tempting to skip over this preliminary stuff. Where are the cool, traffic-boosting tips?

They’re coming. But the right foundation is critical. If you miss this step, nothing else in this article will matter.

Focus on the longtail.

The single most important technique for gaining traffic apart from social media is the longtail keyword.

Longtail keywords are queries that consist of several words rather than a short phrase.

For example:

  • iphone = a short-tail keyword, also called a head term.
  • best waterproof iphone 6+case for extreme sports = a longtail keyword.

Why is it important to use longtail keywords?

Use longtail keywords because it’s difficult to rank for head terms.

If you wanted to rank for the term “paint” or “apple” or “phone,” you would have to do some remarkable things — like be Wikipedia, for instance.

Besides, there’s basically no value in ranking for such a term. Even though a lot of people may search on head terms, the quality of traffic that it drives is usually pretty low.

Use longtail keywords because they will drive targeted traffic to your site.

You don’t simply want traffic. You want targeted traffic.

That’s the power of the longtail keyword.

Longtail keywords actively weed out passive users. It takes thought and effort to search for a longtail query.

Furthermore, longtail keywords have a higher demand. Over 70% of all queries are longtail keywords.

monthly searches vs. number of keywords

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Identifying the right longtail keywords for your website will produce enormous results — namely, the right kind of traffic.

Use longtail keywords because visitors are more likely to convert.

The fact that the competition is low and the traffic is targeted can only mean one thing: Visitors are more likely to convert.

competition vs. probability of converting

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People who are directed to your website through typing in longtail queries will find your site to be very helpful.

After all, they found your article by typing in a very specific and long query. If your website ranked for that term, then it must be relevant in some way.

Visitors love it. And they convert.

website conversion rates vs. longtail terms

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At the heart of your traffic-generating strategy should be an effort to gain longtail traffic. The competition is low and the probability of conversions is high.

Gain referral traffic from high-traffic niche websites.

One of the best ways to boost your website’s referral traffic is by getting links from other niche websites.

How do you do this?

Let me share with you a strategy that I’ve taught to others. Believe me, this technique works, especially if you’re in a blog-savvy and online-active niche.

Referral traffic refers visitors to your websites from users on other websites.

For example, if someone is reading an article on XYZ blog, and they see a hyperlink to “this great article,” they may click on “this great article.” This takes them to a different website.

Voilà. Referral traffic.

If you’re dialed into your Google Analytics, you’ve probably taken some time to analyze your own referral traffic.

google analytics

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The majority of referral traffic comes through social media sources, as indicated by recent studies.

share of traffic to publisher

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Even though social media dominates referral traffic, other websites still serve as valuable sources of referrals. In some cases, leads from these websites can be more valuable than social media referral traffic.

How do you gain this referral traffic? Here’s a process.

  • Determine the best niche websites with high traffic and qualified leads. Focus on websites that produce great content.
  • Link to these websites as you normally would when you’re writing a blog post.
  • Send an email to the authors or publishers of the website to let them know that you’ve linked to them.

That’s it.

What happens next?

There are several possibilities:

  • You get on their radar. If they aren’t aware of you or your content, they are now. You’ve found a polite and professionally appropriate way to say, “Hi. I’m here. Notice me.”
  • They appreciate you. Hey, you’ve fostered some good will. Can’t be that bad, right?
  • They share your content on their platforms. If they have an audience on social or other networks, they may share your content as well.
  • They link to your blog. This is where the referral traffic comes from. Although it’s certainly not expected, a tit-for-tat link courtesy is a method of acknowledging another blog and the content they produce.

Simply linking to others and not reaching out will get you on their radar. I recommend that you follow up your links with a quick note, but if you forget to do it or don’t have time, you’ll still get on their radar and may earn a link back.

Some of the most successful content marketers I know have built their platforms making heavy use of this technique.

The cumulative effect of this kind of outreach is huge. You can gain invitations to guest post, snag speaking engagements, get on top influencer lists, and earn some referral traffic, too.

Guest blogging.

Guest blogging has been my number one source of traffic. I love guest blogging, probably because I love writing. But I also appreciate the fact that I get to contribute to a wider audience.

There are only so many people that I’m going to reach with the content on Quicksprout and my personal website. When I produce content for a site like Forbes, Inc., or Search Engine Journal, I’m able to deliver value to a different group of readers.

Guest blogging is another source of referral traffic. Often, guest bloggers have a small bio at the bottom of their article in which they include a link to their website.

Besides, guest blogging helps to establish brand presence and knowledge. As you gain recognition in your niche, people become familiar with your name and your brand. This leads, in turn, to branded organic queries or direct traffic.

Ramit Sethi, himself a successful author, makes the unscientific observation that referral traffic from other relevant blogs is a huge source of traffic.

getting traffic to your blog

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How do you get started with guest blogging?

  • Make sure you’re actively blogging. Sites that accept guest authors want to make sure that you’re a capable writer, and will probably want to see samples of your work.
  • Search for sites that accept guest posts. You can do a simple query, such as “[your industry keyword] + guest post,” or “[your industry keyword] + write for us.” Some of the niche sites that you already visit and read may accept guest posts, too.
  • Contact the site administrator or owner and ask for an opportunity to guest post. You can improve your chances of getting accepted by being an active reader of the blog, engaging in blog comments, and sharing the content.
  • Pitch topics or an article. If you have an article or topic ready, you’ve improved your game. You shouldn’t submit a pitch unsolicited, but if you have one ready, you can mention it.

Guest blogging has a snowball effect. The more you do it, the more you’ll be able to do.

As you write more content, more and more people will recognize your name and the value of the articles that you produce. Instead of looking for sites to post on, they may come looking for you.

Conclusion

Are there are other ways to gain traffic without using social media?

Absolutely. I’ve outlined a few more of these methods in my Complete Guide to Building Your Blog Audience.

I recommend using every method at your disposal to drive traffic to your website. There are dozens of ways to gain interested target users from every corner of the Internet and beyond.

Understanding these people — how they search, what they want, where they look, what they spend their time on — is critical to your success as a high-traffic blogger.

The audience is there, social media or not. You might just find that your best and most valuable source of traffic comes from somewhere other than social media.

How important is non-social media traffic to you? How do you gain it?

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